Rodolfo Peña speaks slowly and in a deep tone. First, he listens to the question and then he answers it.
With only his cell phone in hand, the congressman attended a conversation with The Voice of Guanacaste that lasted an hour. He arrived on time since “he doesn’t like tardiness.”
“I have other commitments afterwards and I prefer to focus on this,” he said at the beginning of the meeting.
Peña is one of the nine lawmakers that will represent the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) in congress for the 2018-2022 period. In the province, 18,414 citizens bet on the legislative candidates for this party.
The projects that he already promises to complete appear in his responses: the Río Piedras reservoir, turn the Daniel Oduber airport into a cargo point and keep it open 24 hours, and complete well-known road projects like the Ruta del Sol (between Ostional and Sámara).
“We have to tell people, ‘“This is Guanacaste!’” We have to incentivize technology and why not use Franklin Chang’s contacts to create a technology research college at Earth University. There are a lot of things that can be done in Guanacaste, in this province that has governments have forgotten about despite it being used as a petty cash drawer by many of them.”
He never envisioned himself as an opposition lawmaker. Ever since the campaign he saw himself defending his ideas in a Unity government. Today he assures that he is making adjustments to his strategy in order to face congress and “help the province.”
That turn brings him to pushing for economic and productive growth in Guanacaste with umbrella projects and leave aside initiatives focused on attending to the needs of specific communities.
“The fact that we aren’t in the government limits us a lot. There were commitments to continue with some of the projects in the communities but now we have to give them a different shade and rethink some aspects. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to tell the country that it was deprived of having a super president with an organized party and team,” the congressman said.
In order to get results, Peña thinks that they will have to make solid alliances with the other parties, although he didn’t say with which ones he would feel most comfortable doing so. He did say that he is willing to create a “true faction for Guanacaste.”
“I have faith in God that fellow congressmen for Guanacaste can agree on ideas that we can fight for together. I look at a congresswoman like Aida Maria Montiel, who I’m really close with. In recent days I met Mileidy, a very open woman with a lot of desire to do things right, and Luis Aiza, who was already a congressman and also a man who fights. I think we are going to agree on a lot,” he continued.
He declares himself to be an advocate of the development bank system (SBD) even though he says that the essence of “system” has been lost, which is why he will work on projects that promote entrepreneurial undertakings such as “the key for social development in the province.”
“Here, we have to teach people how to be businesspeople. I’ll stick with local, because they are the ones who end up producing. People should have their small hotels, their airbnbs.”
For his first contact with a legislative seat, Peña assured that he would surround himself with respected advisers: a journalist, a political scientist, two economists and two lawyers who specialize in tax law. He preferred to keep their identities anonymous so as to not run the risk that “the steal them from me.”
Although he abstains from talking about concrete projects designed for Guanacaste, Peña doesn’t ever hesitate. Just one question made him think:
—Are you for or against the sexual education guides?
—80 percent of the guides are acceptable. There are some points that need to be modified.
— Which points?
— The one about the position and the authority that is given to education centers so that they are the ones that teach what parents should be teaching their kids. Look, it’s clear to me, but look, I prefer to let a communique from the party explain how that is going to proceed.”